Pandemic AP Exams: What We Now Know


Ashley Dang

With College Board’s plans to administer advanced placement exams both online and in person, students have displayed a mix of reactions. Though many may feel uneasy, teachers and College Board administrators express that they will do all that they can in order to prepare students before testing season.

Mahalla Hynes, Reporter

Since the beginning of the pandemic last March, there has been much uncertainty surrounding standardized tests, especially those organized by the college board, like AP tests, SAT tests, and PSAT testing. College Board tests have more uncertainty because of two main reasons: one, they are conducted all over the world, and two, the College Board is an independent company that makes its own decisions. 

The global aspect of testing makes troubleshooting the pandemic situation complicated because the College Board must find a way to adapt to the different COVID-19 restrictions in global testing locations. This means they will have to make more adjustments for each individual country and attempt to predict disease restriction changes. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we are not capable of predicting the future. Thus, the college board encounters this issue of not knowing what will happen in May while still attempting to plan tests and help students. As an independent company, the College Board is not controlled by the US government. With the decentralization of management in the US, the company must deal with all of the local restrictions and situations in each location. This leads to confusion and makes decisions even more difficult.

The College Board appears insistent on providing the same paper-pencil tests they always had before 2020. The company is trying to provide assistance to students and teachers by producing videos about the different topics in each class. With the aim to provide extra help for students and teachers who have less time in the classroom, the College Board is attempting to encourage learning that has deteriorated compared to previous years because of modified schedules. 

IB sophomore, Toni Curry, says she “has been studying all of [the] material more closely, so [she] can be better prepared for the exams.” 

Closer study can help students more deeply understand the material, and is essential in getting a good score on the exam. It is especially important during the current time because teachers are attempting to teach both connect and face-to-face students and cannot have as many interactive activities as they normally would. 

AP English Language and Rhetoric and AP Art History Teacher, Mrs. Bordner, said “After last year, I learned the College Board can and will make last-minute changes so there are no certainties. We must be prepared for any (and all) changes and just roll with the punches.”

The idea that students and teachers need to be prepared for change when it happens is absolutely necessary. Students need to be aware and prepared for possible change and ready to meet the task. Taking it day by day helps some deal with the uncertainty because small doses of stress are much easier to deal with than large amounts of stress and uncertainty.

Curry adds “I’ve just taken it day by day because I haven’t really adapted, it’s been kind of hard for me. I am pretty nervous about [AP exams] because I don’t know how it will go.”

Teachers have had to change plans but are still doing everything they can to help their students pass their exams. Adapting their lessons has led to changes, but students and teachers and still doing the best thing they can.

Bordner adds “I am dealing with AP exams the same as I always have. Unfortunately, I have had to move a little slower because of the Connect set-up. I am not as far in the curriculum as I would hope, but I am doing the best I can. After all, we are in a pandemic. I admit I have really not adapted anything. My lessons are not dynamic this year due to social distancing and the digital aspect but there are skills to cover and I want to be sure to cover them.  I don’t want to take away from my students’ opportunities. None of this situation is our fault, so I just keep moving forward.”

It is so important to just keep moving ahead and doing your best. There is still much to be seen, but later by managing stress and taking time with the material will help everyone do well on their exams. 

Have any thoughts on the current AP exam testing? Let us know in the comments below or on Instagram @seminolenewspaper !